Submitted Successfully!
To reward your contribution, here is a gift for you: A free trial for our video production service.
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 + 1589 word(s) 1589 2021-08-13 06:32:34 |
2 The format is correct Meta information modification 1589 2021-08-16 05:32:49 |

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Wong Hui Tiing, C. Board Games in Improving Speaking. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 13 July 2024).
Wong Hui Tiing C. Board Games in Improving Speaking. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed July 13, 2024.
Wong Hui Tiing, Catherine. "Board Games in Improving Speaking" Encyclopedia, (accessed July 13, 2024).
Wong Hui Tiing, C. (2021, August 14). Board Games in Improving Speaking. In Encyclopedia.
Wong Hui Tiing, Catherine. "Board Games in Improving Speaking." Encyclopedia. Web. 14 August, 2021.
Board Games in Improving Speaking

English is a fundamental language to learn as it is used worldwide. The teaching and learning of English has been emphasized in Malaysia as English plays a major role in global communication. However, speaking performance was recorded as poor and weak among pupils in ESL classrooms. Previous researchers explored a myriad of communicative language activities to improve speaking skill. Board games are employed as one of the most useful tools to improve speaking skills among pupils.

board games speaking education English pupils’ perceptions

1. Introduction

In the era of globalization, English takes its stance as the predominant language, spoken by around 400 million people across the globe. English is used as a means of verbal and written communication worldwide to bridge the gaps in economic, political and social aspects. Since English is known as an international language, development of English proficiency and speaking competency should be emphasized [1].
Speaking is an interactive process that comprises producing, receiving and processing information in the presence of both the speaker and listener to convey feelings, thoughts and opinions [2]. One of the aims of teaching English is to facilitate pupils to speak the target language fluently and accurately in their daily communication, group discussions and classroom presentations. In Malaysia, deficiency in speaking skill has been a main concern in ESL classrooms. Before the implementation of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), the exam-oriented curriculum caused English lessons to focus solely on tested items such as reading comprehension, grammar and essay writing. Limited time allocation for listening and speaking leads to the negligence of oral language development in the ESL classroom. According to the results of the Cambridge Baseline Study in 2013, pupils’ English performance was below the expected level of proficiency and speaking skill was the weakest among the four skills [3].
The success of speaking English is measured in terms of the pupils’ ability to carry out a conversation in English with correct pronunciation, grammar, good use of vocabulary and fluency. The primary obstacles that deter pupils from speaking are the lack of vocabulary as well as some psychological factors, such as anxiety and fear of making errors [4]. To address the issue of low speaking proficiency among primary pupils, educators have revised the curriculum. The curriculum focuses on communicative-based language activities and upholds fun learning in ESL classrooms. It is essential for teachers to develop captivating and interactive speaking activities to motivate pupils to engage in spoken interaction. Student-centered activities with authentic contexts should be planned to gain pupils’ interests and motivation to speak in the lessons [5]. Pupils show their willingness to participate when the topics and materials are related to their own lives [6]. Therefore, teachers should select appropriate learning strategies that cater for pupils’ needs and learning preferences so that they feel encouraged to speak without any fear of making flaws [7].
One of the ways to get pupils immersed in a speaking lesson is through games. Using games in teaching and learning transforms the traditional method of transmitting knowledge. The incorporation of games in learning triggers pupils to be autonomous learners and enhances their learning in various fields of knowledge [8]. Undeniably, games help to lower pupils’ anxieties and create contexts in which pupils can collaborate with peers in teams to use language meaningfully and in a relaxed way. This is supported by [9], who proclaimed that pupils interact with other players and follow the context presented during the games. There are a wide array of communicative games that can be used to teach speaking, and one of them is board games. Through board games, pupils have to take turns to express their ideas according to the instructions given. Some board games imitate real-life circumstances which subconsciously help pupils to develop social skills and increase their flexibility. Several studies were done in the past to examine the effectiveness of the integration of board games into classroom teaching and learning to improve speaking skill. Gaming literature also displays data on the usefulness of board games in language learning.

2. Board Games in Improving Pupils’ Speaking Skills

2.1. Pupils’ Perceptions to the Use of Board Games

Fithriani [10] identified that pupils themselves reported that board games assisted them in gaining confidence in using English during speaking lessons. Board games lowered their speaking anxiety and provided a game-like atmosphere which enabled them to express their ideas freely within the context provided. Similar findings were depicted in the studies of Łodzikowski & Jekiel [11] and Gonzalo-Iglesia et al. [12]. The former delineated board games as alternatives that promoted active participation in a speaking lessons, while the latter portrayed board games as activating catalysts that motivated pupils to speak in the classroom. For instance, pupils proclaimed that the use of board game, Snakes and Ladders, reduced the boredom of a speaking lesson as it was an engaging and fun game that motivated them to speak confidently in front of the class; they enjoyed many aspects of the game [13]. From pupils’ perspectives, board games made speaking lessons fun, reduced their shyness in speaking and lessened their fear of making flaws while speaking [14][15]. Pupils were encouraged to speak as board games replaced drilling practices in speaking lessons [16].
Apart from the change in learning attitude, there was a shift in pupils’ speaking competence in terms of grammar, pronunciation and fluency [10][17][18][19][14][20][11][21][15]. Pupils claimed that board and dice games enabled them to learn how to use tenses, passive voice and conditional sentences in their speech [10]. Pupils admitted that they actively converted the sentences in the board games to their past tense forms and spoke the sentences while they played the game with their peers [15]. Pupils acquired the grammar in the speech subconsciously and improved their speech accuracy gradually through board games [21]. Pupils also perceived board games as a great tool that improved their vocabulary, fluency, grammar and pronunciation in their speech as their scores in the speaking post-test were higher when compared to the pre-test [17][19]. Pupils also viewed board games as helpful in improving their English pronunciation in terms of stress and intonation [11]. Pupils expressed that board games improved their fluency in speaking as they enjoyed playing the games and forget their fear of making errors in their speech [14][20].
Through board games, pupils’ learning community development was enhanced in terms of their social ability and communication [22][17][18][12][23][24]. Pupils’ social skills were improved through board games as they learnt to tolerate losing the games, listened to others’ opinions and shared their points of view [18]. Pupils expressed their preferences for board games because they promoted collaborative learning and pupils could socially interact as well as develop teamwork skills with peers [12]. Karasimos’ study [23] revealed that pupils showed an active participation in board games as they loved to work with peers in groups.
Based on the above findings, board games are proven to increase motivation in speaking, improve speaking competence and enhance social interaction from pupils’ perspectives.

2.2. Usefulness of Board Games in Improving Pupils’ Speaking Skill

Board games were proven to be efficacious in improving pronunciation in terms of clarity [25][26] and intelligibility [27][28]. Pupils were able to identify, blend and segment individual sounds [29], know the differences between phonemes and pronounce the ending sounds /s/, /z/ and /iz/ clearly [30]. Pupils were able to articulate the speech sound with the right pitch [31], stress [32] and intonation [27] with reference to some standard of correctness and acceptability. Repetition of words mentioned by peers in the board games facilitated pupils’ memory retention of the words’ pronunciations [33].
Board games also caused a significant improvement in fluency. Pupils’ speech fluency showed a huge progression as their speed of speech production was maximized [34], grammatical accuracy was increased [35] and they could further elaborate on their points of view [36]. Pupils could understand the conversation and respond to their peers using comprehensible speech [28] as well as express their opinions without hindrances [29]. Halts, repetitions, fillers and sentence fragments were reduced in the speech and communication was not impeded by minor grammatical errors and language limitations.
Apart from the improvement in speech fluency, board games assisted pupils in using grammatical forms such as verb tenses, linking words and conjunctions in their speech correctly [33][34]. Pupils began to use complex and compound sentences in their speech instead of simple sentences [37]. Pupils were aware of the units and patterns used in the speech [29] and developed a relatively high degree of grammatical control [36]. They would select the right tenses and word class while conversing with their peers in board games.
Board games were regarded as tools that exposed pupils to various chances to practice speaking the target language naturally. Pupils were connected to real-life situations that provided meaningful learning opportunities through board games [38][39], thus stimulating them to develop their creativity and thinking into a wider area [35]. Pictures and words provided on the cards in board games enabled pupils to develop ideas for their speech content and pupils gained experience using the language naturally for their daily communication [4].
It was notable that pupils were keen on speaking after board games were implemented in their speaking lessons. A few studies indicated that board games created a positive learning environment with a comfortable atmosphere that reduced apprehension in communication [39] and boosted confidence in speech [40]. Moreover, board games required pupils to gather in small groups to play [4], so pupils were able to learn through their friends’ speaking. The stress-free ambience offered by board games allowed pupils to forget their shyness and express ideas naturally [35]. As pupils were familiarised with the concepts, rules and regulations of the board games such as Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders, their anxiety and phobia in speaking was minimized [41] and they felt more encouraged and confident in conveying their opinions to their friends in the games [36].


  1. Lie, W.; Yunus, M.M. Pen pals are now in your fingertips—A global collaboration online project to develop writing skills. Creat. Educ. 2018, 9, 2491–2504.
  2. Sharma, D.R. Action research on improving students’ speaking proficiency in using cooperative storytelling strategy. J. NELTA Surkhet 2018, 5, 1–9.
  3. Nadesan, N.K.; Shah, P.M. Non-linguistic challenges faced by Malaysian students in enhancing speaking skills. Creat. Educ. 2020, 11, 1988–2001.
  4. Hayuningtyas, N.; Farizah, N.H. Developing “Speak it up” board game in speaking skill for undergraduate EFL students. PESAT 2020, 6, 1–14.
  5. Charanjit, K.S.S.; Ramachandran, A.; Tarsame, S.M.S.; Ong, E.T.; Yunus, M.M.; Mulyadi, D. The use of think pair share of cooperative learning to improve weak students’ speaking ability. Int. J. Psychosoc. Rehabil. 2020, 24, 2243–2251.
  6. Mustapha, S.M.; Abd Rahman, N.S.N.; Yunus, M.M. Factors influencing classroom participation: A case study of Malaysian undergraduate students. Procedia Soc. Behav. Sci. 2010, 9, 1079–1084.
  7. Zakaria, N.; Hashim, H.; Yunus, M. A review of affective strategy and social strategy in developing students’ speaking skills. Creat. Educ. 2019, 10, 3082–3090.
  8. Arif, F.K.M.; Zubir, N.Z.; Mohamad, M.; Yunus, M.M. Benefits and challenges of using game-based formative assessment among undergraduate students. Humanit. Soc. Sci. Rev. 2019, 7, 203–213.
  9. Kapp, K.M. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Case-Based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education; Pfieffer, An Imprint of John Wiley & Sons: New York, NY, USA, 2012.
  10. Fithriani, R. Communicative game-based learning in EFL grammar class: Suggested activities and students’ perception. JEELS J. Engl. Educ. Linguist. Stud. 2018, 5, 171–188.
  11. Łodzikowski, K.; Jekiel, M. Board games for teaching English prosody to advanced EFL learners. ELT J. 2019, 73, 275–285.
  12. Gonzalo-Iglesia, J.L.; Lozano-Monterrubio, N.; Prades-Tena, J. Non educational board games in university education. Perceptions of students experiencing game-based learning methodologies. Revista LUsófona de Educação 2018, 41, 45–62.
  13. Ratih, F.T.; Ningsih, N.A.; Kurniawan, A. Using a board game “Snake and Ladder” to teach speaking descriptive text at the eight grade students of SMPN 2 Wungu. Engl. Teach. J. 2017, 5.
  14. Maqfirah, Y.; Fitriani, S.; Chairina. The use of guessing games to teach speaking skill. Res. Engl. Educ. READ 2018, 3, 91–99.
  15. Putri, N.; Setiyadi, B.; Nabila, S. The implementation of board game to improve students’ speaking achievement. U-JET 2018, 7, 51–59.
  16. Taspinar, B.; Schmidt, W.; Schuhbauer, H. Gamification in education: A board game approach to knowledge acquisition. Procedia Comput. Sci. 2017, 99, 101–116.
  17. Surajwaran, M.; Aziz, A.A. The impact of the implementation of CLT on students’ speaking skills. Int. J. Sci. Res. Publ. 2019, 9, 75–82.
  18. Barton, E.E.; Pokorski, E.A.; Sweeney, E.M.; Velez, M.; Gossett, S.; Qiu, J.; Domingo, M. An empirical examination of effective practices for teaching board game play to young children. J. Posit. Behav. Interv. 2018, 20, 138–148.
  19. Asiah, N. The use of dart board games as strategy to improve students’ speaking skill. SELL J. 2020, 5, 131–136.
  20. Suhardiyati, Y.; Sukirlan, M.; Nurweni, A. The influence of What Am I? game toward students’ speaking achievement. U-JET Unila J. Engl. Teach. 2018, 7, 54–62.
  21. Linares, C.E. Enhancing Speaking through Board and Table Games in an EFL Classroom. Board and Table Games: A Fun Way to Learn English. Universidad Externado de Colombia. 2018. Available online: (accessed on 5 May 2021).
  22. Syakur, M.A. The use of board game in teaching speaking to young learners. Engl. Educ. J. Engl. Teach. Res. 2020, 5, 149–155.
  23. Karasimos, A. #LetMeepleTalk: Using board games for EFL preschoolers. Res. Pap. Lang. Teach. Learn. 2021, 11, 93–103.
  24. Bayeck, R.Y. Examining board gameplay and learning: A multidisciplinary review of recent research. Simul. Gaming 2020, 51, 411–431.
  25. Anggit, W. The Use of Board Game to Improve Students Speaking Skills (A Classroom Action Research for the Eighth Student of MTs Yajri Payaman). 2019. Available online: (accessed on 5 May 2021).
  26. Annisa, P.S.M.; Nst, R.D. Comic strips and board game as a media in learning oral language skills for students. Jurnal Darma Agung 2020, 28, 313–327.
  27. Simbolon, A.; Siregar, P.; Sibuea, E.R. Improving the students’ speaking skills through board games to the tenth grade students of SMA Negeri 2 Padangsidimpuan. Jurnal ESTUPRO 2018, 3, 12–21.
  28. Arfani, S.; Sulistia, A. Teaching speaking using a “Snake and Ladder” board game: A teacher story. Res. Innov. Lang. Learn. 2019, 2, 65–72.
  29. Putri, A.A.; Sinaga, T.; Sukirlan, M. The Implementation of Board Games in Improving Students’ Speaking Skill. 2017. Available online: (accessed on 24 May 2021).
  30. Rachmadany, C.D.; Wulyani, A.N.; Astuti, U.P. The Loss board game: A game to improve students’ pronunciation. J-ELLiT J. Engl. Lang. Lit. Teach. 2020, 4, 15–26.
  31. Maulana, R.A. The Use of Board Game for Improving Students’ English Speaking Ability. The State Institute for Islamic Studies Of Bengkulu. 2019. Available online: (accessed on 21 May 2021).
  32. Al-Jawwadah, R.K.; Saputri, T. The effect of board game to increase English vocabulary mastery: Systematic review. Konstruktivisme: Jurnal Pendidikan dan Pembelajaran 2021, 13, 13–24.
  33. Rayhana Maulidya, F. Improving the Eighth Grade Students’ Speaking Ability by Using Board Game at Smpn 2 Banyuglugur in the 2018/2019 Academic Year. 2019. Available online: (accessed on 12 May 2021).
  34. Kumalasari, E.; Risnawati Lismayanti, D. Improving students’ speaking ability by using something old something new game. In Proceedings of the 9th UNNES Virtual International Conference on English Language Teaching, Literature, and Transltion (ELTLT), Semarang City, Indonesia, 14–15 November 2020; Volume 1, pp. 148–156.
  35. Ho, P.V.P.; Thien, N.M.; An, N.T.M.; Vy, N.N.H. The effects of using games on EFL students’ speaking performances. Int. J. Engl. Linguist. 2020, 10, 183–193.
  36. Pratiwi, F. The effect of Pelajar Go! as a board game to improve student’s speaking skill. Adv. Soc. Sci. Educ. Humanit. Res. 2018, 326, 211–215.
  37. Hariyanto, H.; Sutarsyah, C.; Sukirlan, M. Improving students’ speaking performance through language board game at the eight grade of SMPIT Permata Bunda. U-JET 2020, 9, 85–94.
  38. Nuzulia, R.; Kepirianto, C. Reducing student’s English dialogue anxiety in online learning through board game. Lensa: Kajian Kebahasaan Kesusastraan dan Budaya 2020, 10, 263–280.
  39. Chao, C.Y.; Fan, S.H. The effects of integrating board games into ice-breaking activities in a fifth-grade English class to reduce students’ anxieties. Engl. Lang. Teach. 2020, 13, 40–49.
  40. Sari, I.P.; Wulandari, E. Developing the “Speak and Go” board game to teach speaking for grade VIII students of junior high school. Engl. Lang. Teach. J. 2018, 7, 165–170.
  41. Dewi, H.A. The implementation of board games in teaching speaking for tenth graders in senior high school. RETAIN Res. Engl. Lang. Teach. Indones. 2021, 9, 45–52.
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 2.4K
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Date: 17 Aug 2021
Video Production Service